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Saturday, March 3, 2018

Message to Millennials: Burn Down the Mission

Okay, I’m going to put this out here, and I'm sure some unsuspecting readers will be frothing at the mouth by the time it's over, if they're not already. I've been thinking about this for quite a while now; I've been trying to figure out how to address so many issues in one blog post, but the thing is, nearly all of them share a common threat, and it's best to focus right in on that one.

I was born in '65, and technically, kinda-sorta-maybe, I missed by about one year the so-called "Baby Boomer" generation. Now, I have three siblings who are, and believe me, there are so many folks older than me that are NOT the target of this blog.

But a whole bunch of you ARE. This is gonna "meander," as my old dear friend Diana Emmons was wont to say. 

When did the Boomer thing really start to get talked about? I don't remember, to be honest, but I became aware of it in the 1980s, when suddenly the nickname was being bandied about, to describe what the hippies were like, and what many of them had turned into. 

One of the first time I'd heard it being used was when political satirist Mark Russell did a song about them, around 1984...I'm going to try and remember the lyrics, because I cannot find video of it:

"Those boom babies were young and clean, in college they set fire to the dean, now they're Yuppies, see the Yuppies...they had long hair and they wore no shoes, now they're driving big BMWs..."

The idea Russell was putting forward, was how the kids of the postwar pop-out had gone from being free-love hippies to urban professionals obsessed with wealth and materialism. Music in particular reflected during that decade on how the kids "grew up," if that was ever the case.

One of the biggest hits on the country charts in the mid-80s, and one of the most requested songs I ever got was one by the Bellamy Brothers:

I'd used to like the boys, and then more and more, I felt they were doing what I called "Yuppie Country," but this song reflected the way people changed.

In the late 80s, there was an arrogance and elitism I well recall being directed at me, and by colleagues of mine in the media. Young people, as they have in all generations past, were being castigated as lazy, stupid, glued to pop culture, and not doing what they're supposed to. Whatever that was, or is.

Then in the 90s, we had Generation X, or Gen X; slackers, just another term for loser. Gen Y...what the fuck was that? 

Every few years, another one, and every generation removed looked down upon those beneath them. It's never changed, but in recent years I began to view just how nasty, mean-spirited and hateful the older generations have become.

Because, once more, they are threatened. George Carlin's most brilliant few minutes are these:

For whatever reason, I can't upload the video, so you'll need the link. The materialism, the greed, the money, the power. Having it all given, and fearing having to give it up.

That is, if you ever had anything to give up; not like you can take your toys to the grave with you. Jello Biafra once noted that younger generations are the ones that are going to put us in nursing homes one day.

I really became aware of how some Boomers never grew up when I worked a job where I found myself on the older end of a company. I felt kind of stuck in the middle.

On one side were a crew of young kids, still in college or just about of it, They were looking for a job, a shot in the business, something. Some of them had skill, a desire to learn, and to do something. I never felt they got the guidance they needed.

On the other side, were colleagues my age and older. Some, not all, were incredibly defensive, and resentful. They didn't like the way the company was being run, they didn't like the management, they especially didn't like the younger ones.

When people weren't complaining about why the company didn't do things the "way we used to," or "the way it should be," they were trashing the kids. They were called a lot of names: lawn mowers, pot smokers, and so forth.

Oh, and those who felt they were not being respected by the company...they weren't being valued, turned to for their experience, not supported, etc.

Respect is earned. It is not given. That's a mantra they used, and when they didn't get what they thought they should be accorded, who got butthurt?

They did.

When I heard people bitch about one of the young people who did smoke the stuff, I always wanted to turn around and ask, "How much did you smoke back in the day? How much coke did you snort up? How much PCP did you do? How much crack? How much heroin?"

I'm not one to talk, but to me it smacked of hypocrisy. You had it good, Boomers, and you can't take it with you when you go.

But you can pine for the good 'ol days, can't you? Fear of Change...the C-word!

In recent years, I have become aware of how deep the ancient's claws are dug into the ground, as they're being dragged down into it, kicking and screaming. One of the reasons conservatism remains viable is because it appeals to the past. The long-dead past; and the nostalgia for a time that never really existed.

The days when everything was good, nice, and you were never threatened by anything. When life was so simple, and traditional; when Mom stayed home in the kitchen and made sandwiches, and birthed babies. Dad went to work and brought home the money. Everybody had what they wanted, when they wanted it.

That fantasy is still being played out, in the minds of people who go inward, but not for introspection, not for reflection, for thought of what can be shared with future generations.'s about how great things used to be, how if we pretend hard enough, it's still happening.

I'll give you an example: there is an individual whom I know, and I see around. Don't know his name; but every day he talks incessantly to anyone who will listen, about how he had one job all his working life, then he retired, then worked a few years in a certain school system.

And he can't stop complaining about how badly the system was run. He could not effect change, and so eventually he left. He still harps on it.

He continues to talk about the good old days, comfortable and secure in knowing that his retirement is not threatened (YET).

His ignorance of the struggles young people have show he has forgotten what he had to do to pay his dues. The world has changed, but he refuses to see it.

He is one of many, who he can goad into bitching about the Millennials. Those who call themselves businessmen then spend all the time they can one-upping each other.

"Kids are so lazy! They work for me two weeks, and they want a day off!"

"I got a friend who won't hire anyone under 40, but he can't say that or he'll get sued..."

Oh, you poor employers. Perhaps you need to look in the mirror.

Yes, times have changed. Attitudes change; social media, technology, we have become disconnected, but the techniques have merely been brought up to date.

Radio was supposed to be the disconnector decades ago. The TV; then the Internet, Smartphones, all of it. The principle is the same in each case. It's just a different device.

Yes, we all use it too much. I use it too much. We can all do better.

But my point...after the massacre in Parkland, Florida, we again are reminded of how the old fogies continue to cling to our past. We make excuses for everything; we refuse to change. 

Religion, firearms, abortion, sports, politics...these and other topics, we fight over them, friendships are dissolved and families disrupted, because we can't have a conversation anymore. 

It works both ways, not just the one each side whines about in their cut and paste comments. Original thought is no longer permitted, in fact, everyone has them, then as they get older, many lose them and find it easy to just immerse themselves in platitudes.

I think, because I am not one of the wealthy, the privileged, or the special, that I stand apart from my fellows. I try so hard not to see everything through a prism that is to my specifications. I try damned hard every day to see each person for who they are.

I'm so often fucking disappointed. 

Back to that shooting: those kids that are standing up, refusing to be cowed, unwilling to heel to "authority," because they've seen enough and suffered enough. They now fight back against the Drunk Uncles, the Conspiracy Theorists, the Holocaust Deniers, the Status Quo Keepers, and the rest.

And what do they say? They pound their keyboards, call up talk shows, and generally act like this:

Their childish rants are exemplified by the sound of their screams. The disemboweled rats, their screaming hear them on talk radio, on Youtube, and you read it on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere.

Screaming about the Millennials, shrieking that something that's their will be taken from them...oh, the humanity.

The Millennials and their other numbers want change. And those kids ain't gonna quit till they get it. They're not whiny. They're not coddled. They don't want participation trophies (which are meant to stroke the parent's ego, as are so many things kids are forced to do). 

They want shit fixed. 

Interesting article here:

I got a message for those kids: 


Take it down, take the whole fucking rotten structure down. I will shed no tears. I will not cry for the loss of anything, because what I have is fleeting anyway.

I don't have a big house; I don't want one. I don't have a timeshare in Cozumel; I don't have millions of dollars stashed away. I don't sit around all day telling everyone how I spend my money, and what I spend it on. And I don't bitch about what those kids that you can't stand the sight of are doing.

Because they are fucking doing something.

We can learn so much from the younger generations. Their appreciation for certain parts of life we took for granted is something I notice. I don't fully understand all of it. I don't buy into trends; some people do that, sure, but you can tell a poseur from someone who lives it.

I don't get Hipster culture; I remember the Hippies, 'cause I had two brothers who were. They are two different things; but it doesn't matter.

None of this shit matters. Our nation is on a collision course between a culture that wishes to keep it "the way it was," not realizing it's dead and gone, and a culture that is new, ever-changing, and ever-evolving.

Embrace the Change, people. It's not gonna kill you. You'll still be alive. 

You will adapt.

You might...might...even improve yourself.

Imagine that.

I write stories about a world I want to see, not the one you're told you are supposed to see. The change we want to see in this world is in our hands.

"Yeah, so what do you do?" You ask.

I write those stories. You won't like them, probably, because there's things in there that make you cringe. They remind you of a time you don't want to know about. They show you the way things are now, and you can't handle it. 

Generations of grown-up man children need to get their shit correct.

What else do I do? In my profession, I do my damnedest to be fair. I try very hard to get my job right, to get the facts and information right, and present it to you in a non-biased way. It's not easy. Emotion gets in the way. But you do your best and think hard about what your conscience is going to say to you, if you put it out there, and it's not right.

We're human. But your mistakes are always remembered, not the good things you did 99% of the time.

There's gonna be one hell of a revolution in the next year or two; it might just be a bloodless one, I hope so. But it might not. Either way, change is inevitable. 

Get on board; you can still have your convictions, and be you, just remember you are not the center of the universe. I'm sure not.

So kids, Burn Down the Mission. You have the imagination to rebuild; a lot of us are willing to help.

A lot of Americans need to grow up. Now.

Peace, Out.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

A Need to Be Reminded

I guess I need to remind myself at this point, of what we're doing all of this for. I have been quite busy, far too busy for my own good as we begin 2018, and I'm not without enterprise.

I had to finish off a manuscript I call "Times Best Remembered," and it's done but will need fixes and work. Quite a bit, really; but when you have a story burning a hole in your head for two years, it's probably best to get that out of your system.

It's actually a good, solid contemporary novel, and it has possibilities. I quite like it. That's saying something.

That leads me to preparing to edit the first book of the long-awaited "Sweet Dreams Series." The story of youth, time travel and the power of music is finally going to happen, but I have a lot to do before I get there.

I'm finding there's an interesting parallel in my work in recent years: the SDS is going to be a long-running commitment, but I have another.

Some of the non-SDS works have a very intriguing theme to them, even though every one stands alone. All of them have themes of young people, dealing with growing up, falling in love (or not), battling adult problems, and trying to figure out their direction. It's also a strange celebration of life, that I think might be lost on some readers. It was lost on me for a while.

So yes, the story is going to come out, and I need to keep pushing the other avenues. The film, the anime and other methods, but trying to find the right person to help with that, not easy.

Need the agent, too...gotta find the one believer that opens that door. But I have to kick their in first.

I am reminded that I have to occasionally look back at where I was, to figure out how many steps I took to get here.

Perhaps I can remind you, or have you go take a look.

Well then, how about this?

Now, whatever did they say about this book?

It draws you in, just as the cafe and its owners seem to draw in those in need of a comforting place to meet over coffee and to talk with friends and neighbors. The book explores varying backgrounds of the main characters, as well as others who drift through for a day or night of music, all of whom seem to find the warmth and friendship they are seeking through the cafe.

These are reviewers by the way. An old friend who doesn't do reviews told me he was quite pleased to see my writing has matured. Yes, he said that. I've improved, and from a fellow writer, that is a very high compliment.

This story really is in my view probably the best one of the three currently published. I did not expect this story to hit people as it did, but I should not have been surprised. As I battle a similar urge to sometimes not leave my home (even for the work I love doing), let alone get out of bed, I can get it.

Gates demonstrates a firm command and knowledge of a topic that most readers will find foreign, but his compelling characters and in-depth description of modern-day Japan helps ground the reader in a strong narrative. The characters are edgy, multifaceted, and devoid of stereotypical memes. Because Gates frames his descriptions of the isolated world of the hikikomori through the eyes of Rei, the mood does not slip into despair, but, rather, remains hopeful and retains the air of a survivors tale.

As a high school English teacher I have seen withdrawn students over the past 26 years who can identify with the "hikikomori." Some of them make it, and sadly, some don't. Tory Gates gives them a voice in A MOMENT IN THE SUN and that may be the most poignant and liberating aspect of this novel beyond being a well written book that pulls the reader into the world of Rei and her friends as they discover the resilience hidden inside themselves.

Well...these were two significant reviewers' looks at what I was trying to get across. A good story, I think, strong characters that were not stereotypical, and also a real look at what some people face. This is not your happy-happy-joy-joy work; it has real moments.

Now, that first one...what did they say?

A fantastic book. Please read! You won't be sorry. Mental Illness is never an easy topic to discuss. Mr. Gates handles it flawlessly.

A great read about a tough subject in an interesting setting. Tory Gates introduced me to a unfamiliar world and yet I felt truly immersed in the culture and was filled with compassion for the complex characters he created and the challenges they faced.

Please read! You won't be sorry. Mental Illness is never an easy topic to discuss. Mr. Gates handles it flawlessly.

For a fast reader, with only four major characters, it turned out nicely. A relative who suffers from the affliction the cover character (Sora) has in "Parasite Girls" told me I'd got it. She deals with what Sora does every day. 

The "Sweet Dreams Series" I hope is a step into a new world, but one that people can get familiar with, as I hope my other works shall do.

I have the writing somewhat to plan the next move forward.

This is daunting, I'll not deny it. It feels overwhelming, that I've gotten this far, but now getting the doors kicked open that need to be done. 

If anything, I do not quit.

Anyway, I decry looking back to the past and especially living in it. I do NOT live in that past, today and tomorrow, if I can do something in the forward direction, then it's good, even if it doesn't seem like I did shit.

So that's that. If you didn't check those out, I hope you do. If you did, leave me a review over there at Amazon or at Brown Posey Press. Every one counts.

Peace, Out.

Monday, December 25, 2017

How About a Preview...?

Hey all...well, I wish you and yours and Merry Xmas, a Joyous Yule, Blessed Kwanzaa, or whatever you like. 

I may have noted recently my displeasure or unhappiness at having to "get through" these holidays, and it's a battle. But I apologize if I freaked any of you out about that. I have a place to be today, and yesterday...I began writing a new, mad piece.

I've been working on this in my mind and through too many pages of sketches and storylines for two years. I hope it doesn't take that long to finish it.

I can't tell you too much about this, because I don't know how it's going to come out. But the story began from hours and miles of driving in total darkness, and listening to Joe Jackson's amazing Fast Forward CD. are the bashed out, first two pages of Part I, "Christmas in New York."

Times Square; this place was the center of New York City, mostly in the minds of those who’d never lived or been there. The place where dreams focused, for people who believed that old song, the one about making it there, and then propelling oneself further into the world.
      Christmas Eve, around the gigantic tree, bedecked with hundreds of ornaments, a thousand lights or more were revelers, celebrants of the holiday season, with lip service to the child supposedly born on this night, but more to the gayer, less serious aspects.
      Lights flashed across the sky, from the skyscrapers, the billboards and the windows of shops still open. Smaller and less noticed ones flickered as well, from the cameras of tourists taking selfies to broadcast to family and friends back home where they were. Others jammed the sidewalks and streets, partying from club to bar and then the next, and still more hitting those places with last-minute and impulse buys to be had.
      There too, the music: holiday sounds, from the traditional to contemporary, the voices of those at Mass and other more staid events, remembering what they were taught about the so-called Holy Night. The overproduced, glitzy versions of schmaltzy songs about winter wonderlands, a reindeer with an improbable nose, and of course Saint Nicholas; no one here seemed to remember the roots of these things, the Pagan Gods and Goddesses that bore these children.
      A word to the wise to those less experienced was: when in New York, one dressed and acted as though they lived there. The aim was not fall prey to the pickpockets, scammers and grifters that plied the city streets, in search of an easy mark.
      Amid the well-dressed and heeled, those of the middle and working classes walked, rushed and jostled for position in these streets, as they did all around the world. The chill of December was felt more by these folk, but they accepted cold and this time of year as a part of life. Their breath fogged like smoke or vapor; it rose and dissipated with millions more on this grand night.
      And within all these, were the ones that no one noticed, or would admit, even to themselves existed.
      The ragged creature shuffled along the sidewalk, her feet taking in the freezing walk through her battered sneakers. They didn’t even feel as though they were on her feet, these numb to near frostbite. That mattered nothing to her; at least they no longer hurt.
      She was surprised she felt anything at all. Cold had set in weeks before, and never left her. The thin clothing inside of the wool coat, still not one for this weather, did nothing to protect her from the elements. Her gloves, the fingers torn or cut away by a previous owner weren’t much help, but she flexed her hands and fingers as much as possible to keep some feeling. It gave her something to do with her hands, and to focus on.
      Her jeans had seen better years, and the wool cap could not keep the long, matted rat’s nest of black hair from being seen. Down over her shoulders it bounced, and looked more like dreadlocks.
      If anyone chose to look at this thin, gaunt urchin, one might see a face. Thin and long, the jawline was not completely square, but decently formed. Skin, pale from exposure; a Caucasian but not through and through, because it would have taken a very close look to see there might be a little more in this girl’s lineage.
      The eyes were a liquid blue, the black lashes long, even under the body’s duress. The nose, thin, not too large or too small, and the lips too seemed correct for a female that one might draw a picture of. She was not beautiful by the standards of the day, but she was not ugly, either, apart from her current disposition.
      The wind blew down these streets as the girl walked through, unable to find any protection from the buildings, the numerous vehicles or the people who stormed along; they paid no heed to this child, and she did not stop or bother them.
      There was no point. As the wind again tore through her, she drew her thin jacket, most of the buttons long gone about her, and kept on. The clouds had thickened throughout the day, she’d noticed, and there was almost no sun from this morning. A winter storm was coming; the first flakes had already begun to fall, glinting with the colors of the Christmas and city lights, and floated down like confetti. They already had begun to collect on the parked cars, SUVs, trucks and taxicabs that lined the block; it would be a bad night.
      Again, it didn’t matter. She kept walking, but her head came up slightly. Leaned against a brick wall, alongside one of the high end stores, she saw a man. Barely able to stand, in a rough looking jacket and clothes nearly as pathetic as her own, he held out a used McDonald’s cup, asking for spare change. There were few takers.
      She looked at him as she came abreast of him: he was black, probably in his twenties, but the live he led made him look forty. Sharp features, in the cheekbones, the prominent nose, damaged teeth behind his lips; his brown eyes stared at this strange one that walked past him.

      No words were exchanged, but the two nodded. They understood one another.

Well, what do you think? It is a dark, odd beginning, no? The book is tentatively entitled, Times Best Remembered, and I'll explain that in further detail when we finally get there.

I did this the other day:

I made a road trip from Harrisburg to Valley Forge, with a short stopover in Newtown Square, right near a former workplace. My goals were to hit every rest stop on the PA Turnpike, where I left "gifts" of my books.

Yes, it is a cost, but a write off. Here now, my books for free, in hand to those I hope will read them, like them, and expand the base.

The deck is stacked against us indie authors, it's rigged. Big bookstores won't stock you, indie bookstores won't stock you. They stock what they know they can sell.

How it is...we must make ourselves visible, and obnoxious. I aim to.


So anyway, let me know if you like that. It's a good story; might be the best thing I've done.

The best work is the one you have not yet written.

Peace, Out.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

A Reading of Book 1 of the SDS

Here is a quick one...a while back, I submitted the first chapter of my book, "Sweet Dreams: Searching for Roy Buchanan" to the Wildsound Festival in Canada.

Here is a reading of Chapter 1:

How about that?

One of the things I've been looking for, for quite some time, are actors or others to "read" the characters as they might see them in their own minds. That presentation has always been of interest to me, and I recently have been talking with theatrical friends about that possibility.

It's down the road, but worth looking at.

Does this make you want to read it? I hope so.

The Sweet Dreams Series is a multi-volume work that I began in 2007. Here is the Wildsound link that tells you about the story, and a bit about me:

Now I am still pushing and promoting my latest, "Live from the Cafe," on Brown Posey Press. BPP will do the SDS next year, and we'll be working up till then on this.

I got a really nice bit of validation yesterday from someone who knows what's what in theater. I gave the pitch, and explained this idea...

"You have quite a universe going on there," or something like that.

That's kinda cool. I have to really expand it, though. So much more to do.

Anyway, I thought Rachel did a very nice job on the read...I like hearing different voices, and it intrigues me to hear how others interpret the work.

Anyway, I don't know if I'm going to be back before X-day, but either way, have a good one.

Peace, Out.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Being the Change...Tag, You're It!

A scarlet, blood-red font to begin...

And then things take a turn. 

I watch as our mad world continues to spin, and realize that not much has changed. One of the reasons for that, of course, is our innate fear of change, doing anything different, and being different in any way but for the norm.

As we move into the "Holiday" season, I am not detecting as much of the annual madness this year. Mostly I think because I am trying to ignore it. 

My family and I stopped the gift-giving madness in the early 80s, because of cost. Even then, in the money-money-money 80s, we saw before others what was coming. I am not opposed to the give, or the get, but some things just lose their whatever.

This month is one that I get through, rather than experience. I do not feel the Christmas spirit, partly because of the ongoing argument.

We bitch and complain about the consumerist excess, but queue up at Black Friday and trample people to get "deals."

We talk about the religious reasons/aspects of the holiday, and how differently it was celebrated (not at all, really), and forget that entirely, forgetting conveniently that the holidays are Pagan ones.

I see no reason to not be kind to yourself this time of year, or at any time. I'm usually working most holidays, but I've also been fortunate to have friends willing to make space for one of those outlanders at their table or in their home for a bit. It's always cool.

I do find myself pretty often realizing my disgust for people who continue to live in a delusional fantasy that usually involves spewing hatred like blasts of birdshot, typically from behind a computer keyboard and a fake screen name. Or if they are really narcissistic, they put their name on it.

Look at me! 

Nah, I'll pass.

This is an exciting comment, and there's a backstory to it, and it has to do with a mother asking Gandhi's counsel about her son's sugar habit.

Gandhi reportedly said, come back in two weeks, and I'll have a talk with him.

Perplexed, the lady did as asked. He then spoke with the child, who said he'd work on it.

The mother asked, why did you wait two weeks?

Gandhi reportedly replied he had the same bad habit, and took the two weeks to work on it himself.


I'd heard that before, only it was a father asking for his son. Apocryphal or not, it is an example of not doing, "Do as I say, not as I do."

I, for example, cannot tell someone to stop drinking coffee. Nor would I ever.

Not sure why I'm writing about this, but change is a thing that is so frightening.

The reason we see the backlash against progress, and this is progress of any kind, is because those who think they have something to lose, actually think they're going to lose it.

Their guns, their marriage, their privilege, their...whatever.

We have a sad sense of nostalgia, as evidenced by our love affair with old things. Old music, which we have some connection to (I can't deny it), old TV shows, old cars, old movies, all leading up to the "Way Things Used to Be."

I once wrote in a lyric, "Don't look back at the past, because it might just catch up to you." 

Too many just remember the good things; they don't remember the trauma. They don't remember the violence. They don't remember the hate. They don't remember what hurt them.

And yet they still go back there, don't they?

It is fine to listen to great sounds from the past, whatever ones you love because there's great inspiration there. Authors, too, although as one myself I've felt rather disappointed in some of them.

Certain books I thought were great books, weren't so great in my mind. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, is hardly erotic or even sexual. It is an attack on the paper it's printed on, by a fiddling, obsessive-compulsive character, who began by writing a fascinating, descriptive tale...and the last half of it was a repeat that served zero purposes.

E.M. Forster's A Passage to India I'm trying to get through. The story is one that takes you there, and you are immersed in the colonialism, the racism, the outright arrogance of Britain. The Indian characters are willingly subjugated, foolish, stereotypical, even the doctors and lawyers who have somehow managed an education, lucky to avoid the lower castes.

It just does not translate into a story, but meanders in and out of places, and while it makes some sense, it does not tell me a good story.

There's a lot of great writers, many more good ones, and a lot of awful ones.

That's fucking that.

I don't think most writers are born great, nor are they recognized for it. I do cringe when certain people are hailed as the next great American author, or the next great whatever. What makes them great?

Somehow they fall into it, tell a story that grabs people, and it just works. But it needs to be in the hands of those who can get it into other hands, just as people put things on top of other things.

I'm going through another cycle of cynicism, but thankfully my old habits are largely gone, apart from the afore-mentioned caffeine.

So yeah...the change.

Tag, we're it!

If we want change, we have to make it. How do we do it?

You decide for yourself. 

This is the thing...I write...for ME.

I had to get that through my head. These are stories I want to write, am inspired to write, and enjoy writing. This is how I discharge all of the madness from inside my head, in order to figure out what's going to show up next.

Now, a shameless plug:

...and if you like.

Live is kind of a go back home story because I drew on growing up in Vermont, near Quebec, and the things I recalled (what I can, anyway) formed the basis of that story.

The mythical town of Harlandsville is a place that could be anywhere, but it also changes with the times.

Change is the big C in that town...they talk about it, think about it, experience it, and don't always like it.

But they DO IT.

The residents of the town, lifers, transplants, regular passers through? They know it's happening, and they can't stop it. But they carry one because their lives depend on that change.

It may seem that weird little cafe is the place where time stops, but it's only for a little while. Where the Smartphones are put away, and people have nothing to do but drink coffee, and talk to each other.

Not a bad thing, now and again.

I think if I did run a cafe, I'd be out of business in six months w/o no wifi...but it'd be kinda different, don't you think?

Okay to live in the time when you didn't have hotspots, but again you're not living there. 

And you know, Luc and Emily are Millennials, but their clientele goes across the spectrum. There, NO ONE gives a shit whether you're an old far, a Boomer, a Yuppie, a Gen X-er, or a Millennials, or what the fuck you are.

Step inside, you're welcome.

Make that every damn place we go. 

I don't give a fuck who or what you are. Respect is a two-way street. Don't give me shit, I won't give you shit.

Figure out how to straighten things out, and not just in a wardroom coffee clatch, but actually get out and do it.

I do it through work, by being fair, straight-up, and our employer is that way. You know when you hear us, you hear it fairly and correctly. 

If you like it, good. If you don't, that's fine, but you have to decide what to do with what you heard and learned.


The writing? I write for ME, but I hope to write for you. I hope you find my stories interesting, compelling, fun, whatever it does for you I hope is good.

I write what I want to see. The world I hope for, usually in everyday life. It may not be what you see, or want to see but it's a world that is attainable. 

Do we want it enough?

Do we want the change enough?

I know what I do. 

Think about yours.

Peace, Dafuq Out.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Rock, the Island, and What On Earth is This?

It is time as we approach the Deep and Dark December, that I again realize that I have to devote a period of time to this blog thing. I haven't done it much of late, because I'm busy. And I don't often feel I have much to contribute to the blogverse any longer.

Someone recently made an observation about my busy nature. It is that, to be busy, to be occupied, to be doing things. An old friend counseled me in her way of saying something without meaning it be a judgment, that I was doing things to keep myself busy.

She would be right.

The important thing for me is to try and keep myself moving forward, despite the ever-increasing need to focus an ever-declining number of brain cells toward tasks at hand. 

The Simon & Garfunkel tune has always resonated with me. I wonder who that misanthropic character is based on. Interesting that song out of so many wonderful ones from that period showed up on my radar as a young person, and stayed.

I had old Columbia 45's (remember those?) my brothers had and left...I think those were David's, but I can't be sure. Anyway, the music of the late 60's was in the head of a young child, post-Boomer, pre-70's, who knows what I was.

I'm aware of certain things from that period, not all of them good. I remember the music my brothers listened to specifically: Beatles, Stones, CCR, Dylan, the Doors, I think. Not a bad template to learn from, and the generations after that followed them.

Music again is coming back around for me, but it is not taking. An old friend and bandmate is interested again, as is a friend from another project. I don't know.

I honestly don't. I can still write, but do I have the health, and/or the energy to do another band, another project? I have some questions that need to be asked before I commit.

My writing...I am a pre-Curmudgeonly Zen Pagan Bastard who is in a Fucking Hurry. I am trying to be patient.

I had a very interesting experience the past couple of weeks, and I want to share what happened with the online retailer Amazon.

I give you Exhibit A:

"Parasite Girls" came out in 2013, and you can get it from me (when you see me, heh!), on and on Smashwords for cheap, if you have an e-reader, any of them.

Well, this book was mired down in about 8-millionth-515-thousandth place for fiction not that long ago. There are something like 11 million books for sale through Amazon.

My old friend Jim Henry, author of many interesting things, such as the Antiquity Calais series told me that he purchased his books full price for his book signing stock, because it helped his sales numbers.

I thought about that, and so I conducted a test. I bought ONE copy of "Parasite Girls," $9.99 plus shipping. I wanted to see what would happen; it takes a day for the figures on Amazon to catch up.

Next day, "Parasite Girls" was at 255-thousandth something.

What's that tell you?

Was that a fluke? So just for fun, I tried with my latest, "Live from the Cafe."

Well, it was at 7 or 8-millionth whatever, too. That jumped to 250-thousandth or thereabouts.

One book.

One full-price buy did that.

What. The. Fuck?

Not like I'm getting a lot of the cut for those, but damn. So friends, this is why we need to have the support of those who dig what we do.

If a few people, just a few people buy the book, Amazon and the muckety-mucks who know what's what in the literary world will take notice.

"And if two people do harmony..." (Thank you, Arlo Guthrie)

It becomes an organization, or a movement.

You know, I totally get that my writings may not be your thing. I get that money is tight as fuck, and if the tax package those drooling bottomfeeders want to pass in DC goes through, it will be even tighter.

The thing I need, however, is not just that. I have to keep writing, I have to keep working, and I have to get the body of work going in the direction it needs to go.

I'm not seeing the support of the community the way we thought we'd see it. Local bookshops may not be in the keeping of a corporate office telling them everything to do, but they too must stock what they know they can sell. Shelf space is not easy in too many cases.

Doing my best to get my work out there, to get that attention, to get the public to meet the real, live author, and then it becomes the pitch that you hope gets people to whip out their card or their wallet.

Hardest part is when someone is supportive, and says they'll buy your stuff...and then they don't.

I don't mind if you don't, but don't bullshit me. If it is not your thing, I'm cool with it. My work is a semi-acquired taste, I realize that.

But I gotta get the next one ready, and I'm formulating too many things at once, while doing everything else at the same time.

This is how it is. I'm in a hurry, because I may leave this body before all things are in place. So that's why I'm like this. here's the topic of the week.

Sexual harassment, and/or assault.


The body count is rising. From Harvey Weinstein's antics, it now has crossed all manner of business. Roy Moore, in his fake "Christian" arrogance and the idea that women are handmaids and girls are virginal creatures for the taking and abuse is still likely to win a seat in Washington.

Matt Lauer, #1 seat holder on the "Today" show is gone, and suddenly. 

And why am I not surprised about Garrison Keillor?

Well...first of all, I don't know any of these guys. But you see them, and you know the culture we are in.

In the media business, believe me, it hasn't changed much. The Boys Club is still that, and horny, crotch-grabbing, masturbatory world of 40 year olds who didn't make it past middle school for maturity. All you need do is listen to sports talk radio, or any talk radio, and you can hear it.

Let's think about harassment. You know, I was as guilty as some, but thankfully I have not suffered consequences other than embarrassment, having to face something I didn't fully understand, and then owning it.

One reason we have people like this is because we do not have frank, honest discussion about sex, sexuality, and the breaking down of roles, re: what we are and what women are, and how we're supposed to treat one another.

I had no social skills growing up. None. I had very little understanding for attractions, and I didn't always understand what others said. I was behind the curve.

The things we said in have to know, I didn't have hardly any contact with high school peers. I remember emotionally how I was the first year in college, awkward, shy, not mature enough to be there.

I admit that my efforts to know certain people were taken wrong...but that is my fault.

I own not understanding how I creeped out people that were my friends. I didn't know, but I did know. 

That immaturity lasted until I got called out my senior year by a young woman. She let me have it and I deserve what I got.

I apologized, and I think she accepted that.

That incident changed a lot of my thinking, but I still had a lot of growing up to do. I have at times not been correct, but I am certain I've not intentionally hurt anyone.

I learned my boundaries, and I want to think I am ever more mindful of that.

So why has this perpetuated itself all these decades?

Well, let's look at some of what I heard and saw in my career. Certain jobs I had were pretty chill, in terms of the male/female dynamic. I did have one issue with one fellow employee; me forgetting myself, not gauging a sense of humor, a fuckup again, on my part.

Beyond that and before it: I could not be surprised at the sexist, and misogynistic attitude some men (and men old enough to know better) displayed toward female colleagues, be they announcers, in sales, or interns.

Ei, but the interns got shit from some quarters. I remember one station was a mill for interns. One executive had nicknames for some of them. The prerequisite for an intern was not where you went to college, what you were doing in school, or what you had for any kind of track record, but how short were their skirts, and how big were their breasts.

That's an observation. I know what I saw, and heard. I found out that one of the young ladies who was in the place for a time trained as a kickboxer. I was manager of the station at the time; I gave her permission to use her skills as necessary.

She was amused, but she understood, and seemed to have been through it before. I kind of hoped to walk in one day and find one of the offenders lying on the floor after taking a roundhouse kick to the teeth.

One of my colleagues was still thinking he was in his 20's when he was not. He totally was convinced that if a young female sat, stood or breathed in his vicinity that, SHE WANTS ME!!!


My point is not to stigmatize anyone or anything like that. My point is, we have all fucked up at least once in our lives.

We have said things we wished we didn't say; we did things we could take back. We can't. We can only hope to show some growth by being sorry, admitting our error, and trying to make it right.

Some people are beyond hope. They truly believe they can do no wrong, that everyone's overreacting, they're lying, they're soft, they're Milennials, they're snowflakes, this, that, etc.


We need to grow up, folks. In so many ways.

We don't live in the past. This is not the set of "Mad Men," or any of those other shows.

I don't give a shit what you look like. I don't care what you wear, or don't wear. If you're working with me, you are a fellow, a colleague and we are working for the same fucking goals.

You might be asking, "Well, don't you have attractions for women?"

Of course I do. I'm just at the point of knowing that in my life, the way things are...I don't see women interested in me. Or anyone, for that matter.

Yes, people, male or female, neutral, this, that whatever, you interest me by what you say, what you do, how you are. I don't have to agree with you politically, religiously, spiritually, or on anything. 

But how do you treat people? And how do you see me?

I take it as a case by case thing, and try to do my best to be the person who would like you to treat me as I do you. If that makes sense.

Yes, some people rub me the wrong way. Some people piss me off. Some people I find abhorrent.

I don't hate anyone. I despise some people, dislike others, have contempt for a few, but I don't hate them.

Hate is a destroyer. The people who spew their filth on social media from behind their keyboards and fake screen names, you are killing yourselves. You are taking a dull, jagged butter knife and disemboweling yourself on the Altar of Facebook.

If you think your employer, your family and friends can't see you, think again. They will find you; hopefully before your ulcerated cancerous soul dies, and your lie in a pool of your own self-satisfaction.

Now some of these people...a disturbing story has come about regarding Ann Curry, a co-host on "Today." I always felt that Ann was a good journalist, who would have made a very good host.

They used her as a toy, a fool, a joke, the token Asian lady. The worst thing they did to her was dress her up like a cheerleader.

Nothing surprised me about morning TV and it still doesn't. News is not delivered from a couch, assholes. I'm showing my age, but so what?

Curry it seems was set up to fail by those behind the scenes, and it appears Lauer, if not behind it directly, was in on the game and approved.

She was gone, Lauer was given millions to re-up in 2012-13, because execs were worried. Meredith Vieira was leaving, and the loss of the appealing and popular host, coupled with the potential loss of Lauer, left NBC in trouble. 

They didn't trust Curry, nor like her, and they ran her out. They treated her like shit.

Now Lauer suddenly got fired. My guess is whatever he did or is alleged to have done was bad enough, or, a long enough pattern beyond circumstancial evidence or he-said, she-said that he had to go.

Keillor...I'll tell you what, the urbane, cultured, intelligent voice of Lake Woebegon was a gifted storyteller, and is. He is a decent author and writer, and he knew how to run a show.

I did not like certain things about "A Prairie Home Companion." For one, his use of executive privilege.

His singing. He can't. I can sing better than that.

I didn't mind his singing the open, "Ah, hear that old piano from down the avenue..." That sets the tone, you know where you are. That was fine.

But his insistance on singing with the guests! No, just didn't work.

And the pervy old geezer...I remember his bizarre, strange, haunted look he had on his face when the show was live on TV several years back. He was telling a story, and he looked and acted for the world as a perv. Something was just not right.

I thought, "Okay, it's how he looks, his voice, this is how he gets the point across."

Then later on, his perverse onstage gushing over a singer named Iris DeMent. Iris is a folksinger from Kansas, and her voice is unique. She is a good musician and a very good songwriter.

Her voice is high. Nails on a chalkboard high; I get it, but I don't.

Well, she was a staple on the show, and I figured out why one time while listening. Keillor introduced her and over-explained how they were going to sing "a love song" together.

He sounded like a quivering, licentious fiddler (not a musician) as he spoke to DeMent onstage in a way that was disturbing. Fucking Disturbing. 

They sang "That's the Way Love Goes," which Merle Haggard made a hit with. She sounded fine; he sounded like himself. Embarrassing.

Why on Earth DeMent kept going on that show I have no idea. Maybe she didn't feel he was doing anything, I don't know. We'll have to ask her.

Now...this incident:

I do not know the woman's side yet...Keillor has admitted to touching her, but that either she moved, or things didn't angle right, and she was taken aback.

He apologized. Is that what happened? I don't know, I was not there.

This is not to defend Keillor, because his track record of treating backstage people is not good. He's not the nicest man, I hear, but to be fair I have not met him.

I think we guys need to check ourselves. Even if we have not said/done anything, and our records and consciences are clear, here is the lesson I've learned over the years.

Men are NOT chick magnets. Women do NOT want us, just because we're there.

I've often felt my physical condition, look, size or whatever is hardly sexy by the standards that we're expected to uphold. Women, well, see what they're forced to deal with. It's worse. I don't think I need to go there.

As a man, I know certain things attract me, but I hope I know that is not what makes a person, not one bit. 

A little advice from an old guy about relationships, and the love thing: my experience has always been, that I didn't expect to fall for someone. 

I was not looking for it. It happened. It didn't matter to me who that person was, the feeling was there, and it went from there.

At my age, I have a lot of what I call Intellectual Friends. People I can talk to, hang out with, discuss things. I find those the best relationships, because those people become your friends.

That's about it.

We are going through them changes, and we've resisted change with every fiber. We can't live in the past anymore, we need live for the now, and for the future. It's changing, all of it is changing, we are changing.

Embrace the change. Accept the change, and know that change does not have to kill you. Unless you want it to. 

If that's the case and you cling to that past, my dear, you're on your own.

Peace, Out.